Motivating Management: Corporate Compliance in Environmental Protection

28 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2005

See all articles by Neil Gunningham

Neil Gunningham

School of Regulation & Global Governance (RegNet)

Dorothy Thornton

University of California, Berkeley - Center for the Study of Law and Society

Robert A. Kagan

University of California, Berkeley - Center for the Study of Law and Society

Abstract

Based on interviews with facility managers in the electroplating and chemical industries, this study examines regulated firms' perceptions of how various instrumental, normative, and social factors motivated their firms' environmental actions. We found that "implicit general deterrence" (the overall effect of sustained inspection and enforcement activity) was far more important than either specific or general deterrence, and that deterrence in any form was of far greater concern to small and medium-sized enterprises than it was to large ones. Most reputation-sensitive firms in the environmentally sensitive chemical industry chose to go substantially beyond compliance for reasons that related to risk management and to the perceived need to protect their social license to operate. Almost half our respondents also provided normative explanations for why they complied. Overall, we conclude that there are various, often interwoven, strands that must be taken into account in understanding what motivates corporate environmental behavior, and how they play out depends very much on the size and sophistication of companies themselves and on the characteristics of the industry sector within which they are located.

Suggested Citation

Gunningham, Neil and Thornton, Dorothy and Kagan, Robert A., Motivating Management: Corporate Compliance in Environmental Protection. Law & Policy, Vol. 27, No. 2, pp. 289-316, April 2005. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=684341

Neil Gunningham (Contact Author)

School of Regulation & Global Governance (RegNet) ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200
Australia

Dorothy Thornton

University of California, Berkeley - Center for the Study of Law and Society ( email )

Berkeley, WA 94720-2150
United States

Robert A. Kagan

University of California, Berkeley - Center for the Study of Law and Society ( email )

Berkeley, WA 94720-2150
United States
510-642-4038 (Phone)

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